Mobile DTV Users Watch More Local Content

WASHINGTON: The proof of Mobile DTV’s in the using: organizers of the Washington, D.C. showcase say it’s driving local content. The showcase, in which 350 Sprint customers were given Mobile DTV receivers, has been yielding information about reception and usage since May.

Viewing is heaviest during weekdays, organizers said, “and is spread throughout the day with showcase participants tuning into 33 different genres of programming throughout the summer.”

The Mobile DTV trial was organized by the Open Mobile Video Coalition. The most popular content thus far is local news, according Rentrak, which is parsing the trial data. Local news leads viewing by number of episodes and total unique viewers, the OMVC said.

So far, Mobile DTV viewers have tuned in to 2,600 different TV programs total. They cite “the convenience of a mobile device as the key reason for watching more TV than before,” the OMVC said. “Convenience is a key, with viewers checking in wherever they go. In addition to watching at home when others are tuned to different programs on the family big-screen, viewers reported increased TV watching outside of the home, including while commuting on public transportation, during lunch breaks in the middle of the day, and while waiting at the doctor's office or supermarket.”

Mobile DTV viewing also spiked during emergency situations such as storms and public-safety alerts.

“Mid-term results from the OMVC’s Consumer Showcase confirm that people most want to see live, local programming on Mobile DTV,” said Brandon Burgess, chief of the OMVC and of ION Media Networks. “This tracks with a Magid Media Labs survey OMVC sponsored last December that found nearly nine out of 10 consumers said they wanted to see live news and weather programming while on-the-go. Our hands-on findings in Washington show that local channels will be the anchor for future Mobile DTV services.”

The showcase will run through October, with new LG receivers being distributed this month. The trial started in May with 150 Samsung Moment phones. In June, 200 prototype Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbooks were added. Burgess said more than 15,000 comments have come in from showcase participants, who allowed their viewing habits to be tracked by Rentrak, and by Harris Interactive.

Viewers also are asked to keep daily diaries, and participate in market research and focus groups. The showcase includes interactive advertising, electronic service guides for program information, closed captioning and emergency alerts.

The trial is being sponsored by LG Electronics and Samsung. In addition to stations in Washington, TV broadcasters are now transmitting Mobile DTV signals in New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Atlanta, Orlando, Fla.; Chicago, Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Omaha, Nebr.; Los Angeles, San Jose and Fresno, Calif. and other cities.
-- from the OMVC